ALEC Again…

The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, states, in one part of its web site:

Hard work is needed to break out of the cycle of stagnant ideas and old ways of legislating.  ALEC provides a platform for legislators looking to share and find new understanding of the challenges facing their states.  …  legislators can start the discussions in their states of how to best streamline government services and create a system that is efficient, effective and accountable.

In other words, ALEC’s raison d’etre is to help conservative state legislatures block new or gut existing progressive policies, and to substitute laws that accomplish the goals of the far right.

So far, ALEC is batting 500 in this effort.  To date, 25 of our 50 states have enacted right-to-work (for less) laws.  Most recently, ALEC’s cookie-cutter legislation found its way to Wisconsin.  There, on March 10th, Scott Walker signed into law a bill that the Center for Media and Democracy’s PRWatch said was taken almost word for word from ALEC’s model.

But there’s hope.  Recently, similar ALEC clones have met either some degree of opposition, even from Republican legislators, or even defeat.  New Hampshire accomplished the latter.  In West Virginia, 6000 union supporters rallied at the state capitol in opposition to an RTW bill.  But in Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and New Mexico, ALEC RTW clones remain viable.

What can be done?  If you’re in any of those states, and even if you’re not, make your voice heard.  Write, email, or call legislators in those states, and particularly in their Senates.  Let them know you’re diametrically and solidly opposed, and that you consider right-to-work legislation as a euphemism for union-busting.

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Michele Petrovsky holds a Master's Degree in Computer Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh. She spent over two decades teaching in colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and currently publishes two blogs: Thoughts4Change and I Owe It All to J Thaddeus Toad. Petrovsky resides in Glen Mills, PA.


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